Long Beach, Calif. - Selected as the sixth seed, Long Beach State will begin play in the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship on Friday, May 5 in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The Beach will face Pepperdine in the opening round at 10 a.m. PT.
Led by Big West Coach of the Year Mike Campbell, Long Beach State enters the tournament ranked No. 6 in the nation and will be one of eight teams battling to claim the second NCAA Championship in Beach Volleyball since the sport was reclassified in 2016.
Beach Volleyball was launched in 2012 by the NCAA under the moniker sand volleyball, and for four seasons the AVCA held the national championships in Gulf Shores. Long Beach State was a two-time runner up in that competition in 2012 and 2015, and also won the 2013 AVCA National Championship. 2017 marks the fourth trip to Gulf Shores for LBSU, but the first under the NCAA banner.
With a record of 25-8 overall, Long Beach State will face (3) Pepperdine in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament, which will be streamed live through www.ncaa.com at approximately 10 a.m. PT on Friday. A win pushes the Beach through to face the winner of (2) UCLA and (7) LSU at 2 p.m. PT, while a loss would move the 49ers into the consolation bracket. LBSU would in that instance face the loser of the Bruins/Tigers contest at Noon PT.
Both of those second matches will be part of the television coverage of the event, which will be on TruTV over the first two days of competition. The national championship on Sunday will be televised live on TBS.
All five primary pairs for Long Beach State have won over 20 matches this season, five of the nine that have ever reached that mark for the 49ers. Rachel Nieto and Nele Barber have played every match of the season at the top flight, posting a 25-9 overall record and earning first-team All-Big West honors.
Sasha Karelov and Kobi Pekich were also selected for first-team All-Big West honors, while Anete Brinke and Hailey Harward earned second-team All-Big West selection. Karelov/Pekich have posted a 22-12 overall record on the season, while Brinke/Harward are 20-9 over three different flights on the year.
Jenelle Hudson and Megan Kruidhof earned Honorable Mention All-Big West and enter the NCAA Tournament with a 27-4 overall record. The 27 wins mark the most for any pair in school history as the duo has played primarily in the fifth flight. The remaining pair, Morea Wagner and Heather Weiss, reached 20 wins at the Big West Tournament and have a 16-8 overall record in competition at No. 4 this season.
Fans wishing to receive the latest information regarding the team’s time in Alabama should follow @LBSUBeachVB on twitter, and check for additional updates at www.longbeachstate.com and www.ncaa.com.
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